Top 23 Security Trends of 2023 – Security Management Magazine

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I asked security experts with different specialties, functions, and geographies to sum up what they viewed as the most significant security trends and developments in 2023.  

Here are the 23 they chose, broken down into six categories. 

Global/Geopolitical Conflicts  

1. Ukraine War: The war raged on, with Putin strengthening attacks against civilian infrastructure, displacing populations, and disrupting supply chains.

2. Israel/Hamas War: “Not only are organizations having to focus on the situation overseas, but the subsequent activism domestically is drawing greater attention to civil unrest, boycott activities, campus disquiet, and guerilla activism such as vandalism, product tampering, and reputational smear campaigns throughout every continent.” (Harold Wax, Canada)

3. China and APAC: “Chinese President Xi Jinping used his annual new year’s address to the nation to warn Taiwan’s voters ahead of the island’s presidential election that the reunification of China and Taiwan is a ‘historical inevitability.’ North Korea is launching new satellites and building new drones. Japan is set to become the world’s third-largest military spender by 2027, with plans to invest $315B over the next five years.” (Peter Tan, Singapore)

4. Francophone Africa: “In the last three years, coups d’état have occurred in Francophone African countries like Guinea, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and Gabon. The local military in these countries is considered unable to thwart an insurgency given the withdrawal of French military support. As a result, they are seeking help from Russia and China, which could lead to a conflict between superpowers on the African continent. Terrorist groups may exploit this situation to advance their cause.” (Victoria Nkemdilim, Nigeria) 

Evolving Threat Vectors  

5. Rampant Weaponry: “The impact of the wars in Ukraine and Israel has already manifested in conflicts elsewhere with a marked influx of sophisticated heavy weaponry into the black market. This poses a substantial risk to global security.”  (Adriaan Bosch, UK/South Africa) 

6. Artificial Intelligence: “The reality of AI generated threats cannot be underestimated. Using AI to mimic voice and facial characteristics to create content that discredits influential people will increase in the future.” (Rick Mounfield, UK) 

7. Sentiment Control: “Social media plays a crucial part in sentiment control. Security professionals must assess and understand how the change in public sentiment can affect their individual operations.” (Mounfield) 

8. Insider Threat: Hybrid work is here to stay, making the attack landscape more complex. “In the UK in 2023, for the first time ever, working from home outweighed salary as the top benefit in a remuneration package.  Online monitoring must identify suspicious activity and prevent malware entering the main systems via personal IT devices. Data governance and security SaaS must be utilized to mitigate malicious and unintentional insider threats.” (Mounfield) 

9. Cyber: “The latest edition of the Global Cybersecurity Index reveals that Latin America stands as the world’s least prepared region to fend off cyberattacks. This vulnerability is accentuated by the region’s heightened attractiveness to hackers and digital criminals. Latin America, representing merely 8% of the global population, experienced approximately 12% of the worldwide cyberattacks recorded by IBM’s X-Force. The most targeted countries are Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia.” Meantime, cyberskills lag behind demand both regionally and globally. (Deyanira Murga, USA/Mexico).

10. Natural Disasters: In the hottest year on record, twin earthquakes claimed 55,000 lives in Turkey and Syria, Storm Daniel killed more than 4,300 Libyans, an earthquake led to almost 3,000 deaths in Morocco, and floods, tropical storms, cyclones, typhoons, droughts, and wildfires killed thousands more around the globe. 

Legal/Regulatory Issues  

11. Robotics: “Elon Musk’s Neuralink received FDA approval for trials of brain-chip implants in humans.” (Murga) 

12. Employment Law: “With the introduction of stricter U.S. employment laws and state regulations, compliance became a focal point for private security firms. Adhering to legal standards is now essential for survival and transparent operations.” (Eddie Sorrells, USA) 

Security Technology  

13. AI: Generative AI transformed the world in 2023, presenting a dazzling array of opportunities and threats. 

“The integration of AI/ML in threat detection & response is automating aspects of security response, offering quicker, more efficient threat management.” (Michael Brzozowski, Canada) 

14. Unified Access Management: “There is a marked increase in requests for solutions that verify both identities against a single, credible user. This need could see an increased demand for integration into physical security systems.” (Bosch) 

15. Quantum Readiness: “NIST’s initiative to create new cryptographic standards is a clarion call to prepare for a revolutionary new age in computing.” (Tan) 

16. Zero Trust: The “zero-trust” model emerged as a pivotal strategy in both cyber and physical security. As perimeter-based defenses are proving inadequate, the “never trust, always verify”’ approach has become critical.” (Brzozowski) 

Crime and Crime Prevention  

17. U.S.-Mexico Border: Border crisis continues to spawn other crises, including fentanyl abuse, human trafficking, and displaced persons. 

18. Organized Crime: Transnational organized crime continues to proliferate, affecting governments and corporations in multiple companies at once (Kevin Palacios, Ecuador) 

Professional Issues, Events, and Trends  

19. Convergence: Some security firms expanded their services to add cybersecurity to physical. Protecting digital assets, securing IoT devices, and implementing cybersecurity protocols became integral to comprehensive security strategies. (Sorrels) 

“Physical and cyber convergence is maturing, specifically where cybersecurity protocols like 802.1X being employed in access control and CCTV systems.” (Brzozowksi) 

20. Proactive Security: “In 2024, with the benefits of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotics, physical security is rapidly transitioning from reactive to proactive.  High levels of data integrations, including information streams from physical security devices, building management systems, publicly available records, and data services that are imagined by humans and managed by AI and ML, will add great perspective and assist us in taking a proactive approach to risks.” (Jeff Slotnick, USA) 

21. Remote Monitoring: “The demand for remote security monitoring solutions surged in 2023. Leveraging advanced surveillance cameras security providers offered 24/7 remote monitoring services, enhancing situational awareness and response capabilities.” (Sorrels) 

22. Specialized Standards: Specialized standards are emerging in different fields and at different levels, such as the executive protection standard developed at the operational level for the US (ANSI) by the BEPP and at the management level for global (ISO) by ASIS.” (Palacios) 

23. Leveraging Data: With the increase use of AI and the growth of Proptech, organizations are capturing, analyzing, leveraging, and even monetizing the multitude of data points they are generating. 

“The increased focus on digitization of security, specifically around the use of AI and remote guarding solutions are having a positive influence on the value chain for the business by providing large amounts of data and analytics captured via security equipment but benefiting elements of the business such as supply chain, transport, HR, etc. (Wax) 

Michael Gips, CPP, has been an ASIS member for seven years and has served in a variety of volunteer roles. He is currently the chief strategy officer at Emergence Technology Group.

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